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It's the first time Countdown, the sports giant's main NFL show, will incorporate real-time Twitter voting from fans.
Fans can respond to the question seen above -- asking which quarterback will win a Wild Card battle between standout rookies -- using the hashtag #RookieShowdown beginning at 10 a.m. EST this Sunday. ESPN will then use technology from Mass Relevance, Twitter's official social engagement and curation partner, to show on-air graphics displaying live voting results. ESPN plans to use its @ESPN, @ESPNNFL, @SportsCenter and @SportsNation Twitter feeds to drum up fan enthusiasm.
This is the latest example of ESPN integrating social media touches into its TV and online offerings recently.
In September, it debuted a web app called the SportsCenter Feed -- a strikingly Twitter-like tool that instead of presenting ESPN.com visitors with the traditional format of splashy images and headlines, streamlines content with a heavy emphasis on recently posted content and miniature nuggets of information. A late-night show called UNITE on ESPNU, meanwhile, weaves together highlight footage from TV broadcasts, radio-call audio clips and fan-shot video from the stands for an installment called "social highlights."